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Fun Fact Monday December 16, 2019

16 December 2019


“Jingle Bells” was written for Thanksgiving, not Christmas. The song was written in 1857 by James Lord Pierpont and published under the title “One Horse Open Sleigh”. The song reportedly was inspired by the annual one-horse open-sleigh races on Salem and Pleasant Streets between Medford Square and Malden Square in Medford, Massachusetts. Pierpont penned the racy little ditty in Simpson’s Tavern, a boardinghouse that had the one and piano in town. It was supposed to be played in the composer’s fathers Sunday school class during Thanksgiving.  It was so popular that it was repeated during the Christmas season and we’ve been singing it ever since.  One line in the song mentions the horse getting into a drifted bank and “then we go upsot.”   Upsot is an archaic past participle of upset, in this instance meaning “capsized”, but was also slang for “drunk or intoxicated”, perhaps by association with the word “sot”  which is used to describe a drunkard.   “Jingle Bells” was also the first song to be broadcast from space.


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